Why Isn't Election Day a National Holiday? #takebacktuesday
When you get to thinking about it, holding an election in the middle of the work week doesn’t make any sense.
A few weeks back, we brought on political journalist and novelist David Mizner to help curate GOOD's Election 2012 hub. As he got to work, we realized that among all of the complex and internecine debates surrounding this election season, we gravitated to a specific issue, and came up with a simple solution that was win-win from the perspective of whatever side you were on: Let's make Voting Day a national holiday. When you get to thinking about it, holding an election in the middle of the work week doesn’t make any sense. How can our democracy thrive when voting, perhaps our most broad-reaching civic duty, must be squeezed into what odd hours we can find for it?
Of course, it's a thrill to steal a few hours from work and parade around with your "I Voted" sticker for the rest of the day. And of course, most decent employers will give you the time to do so-- but, as we all know, not every employer is decent, and one person's job is not necessarily as flexible time-wise as another's. Why must we accept this as the way things are and have always been? Why do we need to cram our most sacred of civic duties into the typical daily grind? We can do better.
We're far from the only ones thinking about this problem... Other countries address it by holding voting on weekends, and here in the U.S., the organization "Why Tuesday?" (Follow them here on GOOD), who's been working on this issue, for some time, pushed for the Weekend Voting Act earlier this year. OpenIdeo has a project addressing this idea. A petition for the White House to make Voting Day a holiday received more than 13,000 signatures and an official response was issued acknowledging that the problem needed to be addressed by Congress.
Even GOOD community member Rainn Wilson got in on the action.
So, in the spirit of a more engaged citizenship, we figured we'd do something about it: We want to make Voting Day a holiday. And here's our plan:
1. We're going to be pragmatic. GOOD is a business. And so, if we're going to talk the talk, we're going to walk the walk. We'll be closing our offices on Tuesday, November 6—giving all of our employees the day off in the spirit of a more engaged citizenship. But there's more: We're calling upon other companies to join us. We MacGyver'ed this site together so that other businesses can formally opt into this Do-It-Ourselves national holiday in the making, and so we could simultaneously celebrate them for doing so. Follow this link to add your company to the list. And if you're one of the first 100 companies to sign up, we'll send you a Closed for Voting silkscreen poster designed by GOOD's very own Tyler Hoehne. Plus, we’ll give each participating company a mention in the next print issue of GOOD Magazine.
2. We're going to dream big. Holidays aren't just about days off, they're about traditions. So, we’re asking you what our traditions should be for Voting Day. Thanksgiving has turkeys, The Fourth of July has fireworks, Memorial Day has BBQs. We're all proud of our "I Voted" stickers, but we want to peel away those stickers and explore the communal values beneath them. In the coming weeks, we'll be sharing ideas from awesome people across the GOOD community about what Voting Day would look like were it a national holiday—and we'll be assembling a toolkit so you can celebrate it.
So, we urge you to get involved. Share your thoughts in the comments section of our posts. Tweet with #takebacktuesday. Email me if you want to discuss this off-line and, of course, follow our Voting hub here at GOOD.
Let’s make Voting Day a holiday.